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3x3: Three Questions to Help You Uncover Your Short Term Purpose

Published 3/21/2018

Today's episode is all about the "now" that will lead you into the future. You may have grand visions of what happens in 10 years or even 20 years down the road, but what about today? How can you connect your purpose to today?

Today's episode is sponsored by Linode.

In 2018, Linode is joining forces with Developer Tea listeners by offering you $20 of credit - that's 4 months of FREE service on the 1GB tier - for free! Head over to https://spec.fm/linode and use the code DEVELOPERTEA2018 at checkout.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
What is your purpose today? If you've been listening to the show for very long, then you've probably thought a little bit about purpose, especially this year, because we've been talking about the purpose of this show, actually, which is to help you as a driven developer uncover your purpose, and purpose is a big word, and very often, I think we attach the idea of purpose as a static thing, as a singular, you know, kind of identifiable and unchanging thing, kind of like your name or your DNA. And the reality of purpose is that it does shift over time. Your values and your purpose grow with you, so it's important to understand your long-term vision, your long-term, hopefully your long-term purpose, to some degree, so you have a way of setting out your direction, but it's also important to understand what your shorter term purpose is. And we're going to talk a little bit more about why it's so important in today's episode. You're listening to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell, and I am excited for today's episode, because it's right in line with the purpose of this show, the long-term purpose of this show. This is a three by three episode, it's Wednesday, so this is the second of three episodes. We do three practical takeaways, practical things that you can use in each of this week's episodes. In the last episode, we did questions that can help you get unstuck with big problems. In today's episode, we're talking about finding your short-term purpose, finding your purpose for the short-term. How do we define short-term, it's kind of relative, isn't it? You could define long-term as 20 years, or you could define it as 20 months, kind of depends on your situation. But for the sake of today's show, really, we're talking about the immediate purpose. How are you going to make decisions that are driven by purpose today? And the problem that we face so often with finding purpose and finding the long-term purpose more specifically is that it's difficult to draw out how our daily actions are actually stepping us towards that purpose. Because very often, especially for people who have entrepreneurial mindsets, for example, it's very difficult to see how working in your current job and working with fervor and passion and dedication in a job that isn't necessarily directly advancing your purpose will eventually advance your purpose anyway. So building blocks to something that is greater and beyond today can help you understand your purpose for today. But it makes sense to set your sights on doing something great where you are now, doing something as much passion as if it was your real purpose. So in today's episode, we're going to focus on three questions that can help you uncover your short-term purpose. We like to use questions for these three of our three is because questions often generate better thinking than mandates do. And this is kind of a side note, but if you aren't generating more questions than you are answers, then you're probably limiting the possibilities of your work. So it's important to generate questions and then react to those questions in order to answer them rather than trying to generate answers before you've acted. So we're going to do these three questions right after we talk about today's sponsor. Today's sponsor is Linode. With Linode, you can instantly deploy and manage an SSD server in the Linode cloud. Simply choose your Linux distribution, your resources, and your node location, and you're off to the races. This is so simple. It's essentially three clicks and then a submission button and you're ready to go with Linode, you're going to get $20 worth of credit for being a developer T-listener. This is equivalent to four free months on their one gigabyte of RAM plan. If you're doing the math, you realize that even after that four months, that's only $5 a month. And this is one of the best deals that you can get as a developer, one of the highest yields of value that you'll ever have as a developer because $5 a month is such a no-brainer cost. If you don't have a cloud provider yet, especially, and if you're a new developer. But beyond that, Linode is providing you excellent service at higher tiers. For example, high memory plans start at 16 gigabytes of RAM. Now this isn't just any kind of hardware. They're running everything on SSDs. They've got a 40 gigabit internal network. Everything is run on top of Intel E5 processors, which is the fastest processor in the cloud market. So, Linode is providing you the state of the art hardware. They're providing you a free $20 credit. They're also providing you a bunch of developer tools to integrate with their systems. For example, they have a version for beta API, including an officially supported Python command line interface. And there's a ton more for you to learn about Linode. Have a respect out of M-slash Linode to get started today and use the code Developer Tea2018 at checkout to get $20 worth of credit. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So, we're talking about uncovering your short-term purpose. And as it turns out, most people who endeavor to uncover their long-term purpose, they end up feeling restricted in their early phases of pursuing that purpose. Most of the time, this has to do with some kind of other responsibilities. Very often, a young developer feels like they're having to work on the kinds of projects that they don't really want to work on, or maybe they're having to clean up after other people, or they have a difficult boss, or there's plenty of other things that you may run into when you're trying to uncover your purpose as a developer, that on the path make it difficult to pursue. Now, this show is not about making things easy per se. Instead, it's about understanding the hard things. And finding ways of coping with things that are difficult, rather than letting them defeat us. In order to win, we have to be able to cope, we have to be able to approach these things from a new perspective, rather than trying to change the fundamental nature of what you're going through, very often the best way to handle it is to change your perspective, the way you're relating to what you're going through. So, today's episode again is covering three questions that will help you uncover your short-term purpose. Number one, what will generate the most important relationships today? What will generate the most important relationships today? So, your long-term purpose in almost every single case is going to rely on your relationships. If you have poor relationships, you're going to suffer. Your long-term purpose will be very difficult to achieve if you haven't built good relationships along the way. So, this is a very simple heuristic. If you're not generating positive relationships with people, then you probably need to change something about what you're doing. Consider what positive relationships you could generate and what it is that you're doing when you're generating those relationships. Number two, and this one's a very difficult one, but we have to cover it. What part of my ego is limiting my ability to progress? What part of my ego is limiting my ability to progress? Is it possible that you feel so beholden to your own aspirations, right? Your own desire zone wishes, your own visions, that you are allowing that to hold yourself back from making progress? From moving forward in some direction rather than stagnating because you're being stubborn or holding out for the best thing. Very often people end up making poor decisions or making no decision at all because they see something that is not everything that they wish it was. You can think of this as someone who is playing a game of poker or any game of cards where you bet. Whenever they get a hand that isn't a royal flush, whenever they get something that's not perfect, not absolutely the best hand in the deck, they fold. The unfortunate reality for these people is that by constantly taking the path of inaction, by constantly waiting only for the perfect hand, they're continuing to deplete their money, right? They're continuing to deplete their value. Even if the hand was imperfect, very often they could still win the hand because the hands that are being dealt out to the other players are often also imperfect. We as developers can end up folding far too often because we're waiting for the perfect opportunity, we're waiting for the perfect framework, we're waiting for the perfect situation to arise, the perfect salary, the perfect co-worker, the perfect manager. Unfortunately, this is going to limit us because we're wasting our time. We're wasting our effort and this isn't going to lead you anywhere. Unfortunately, this is so often just the result of an ego. We believe for some reason that we are entitled or perhaps were destined to end up with that perfect situation. Again, I want you to think about how you can change the way that you would relate to your situation instead. Change your perception. Change your mindset. Change your positioning first and then look for more perfect opportunities. Don't look at it as a black and white decision, only waiting for the perfect opportunity to fall on your lab. Take the opportunity you have and make the most of it. Don't allow your ego to hold you back from progress. Finally, this is number three, the third question that will help you uncover your short-term purpose, where is my greatest opportunity to help someone? Where is my greatest opportunity to help someone? So often, and this one goes right along with number one, what will generate the most important relationships today, where is my greatest opportunity to help someone? Your greatest momentum as a developer, your greatest progress, long-term progress, will come as the result of focusing on creating value for other people. If you can find a way to prove this wrong, then I really want you to reach out to me and explain to me how, because this market that we work in, no matter what market you're in, you can call it a market or a system, maybe you're a nonprofit or government work, wherever you are working, if you're not creating value for other people, and this is true in education as well. You're not creating value for other people, and value very often, quite simply means helping them. If you're not doing that, then unfortunately, again, your career growth is going to be limited, your ability to reach any kind of vision, any kind of purpose, long-term, will be stunted. You're going to end up in a dead end spiral, because helping other people is the central understanding of creating value. You have to understand your opportunities to help other people. If you follow that, if you follow that specific kind of mandate that you are your number one goal on a given day is to help someone. If you follow that, I guarantee you you're going to see your career transform, especially if you weren't following it before to any significant degree. Once again, it goes back to your ego, if you are focused on building your career more than you are on generating value in your career, on generating help for other humans in your career, then very likely you're going to be limited by that factor alone. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I encourage you to go back and listen to the previous episode about getting unstuck in your big problems. I think it will shift your thinking a little bit, and also subscribe in whatever podcasting app you use, because we're doing the third episode of the three by three week. This one's kind of fun. One is going to be about psychology and about brain hygiene. Three things you can do to take care of your brain. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode. With Linode, you can get a server up and running in just a few minutes. All you do is pick your distro, your resources, and the location of the node. Then you get running once again with just a simple submit button click. So don't check it out. Spec.fm slash Linode used the code Developer Tea 2018 at checkout. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time, enjoy your tea.